2022 Russian mobilization

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2022 mobilization in Russia
Указ Президента России №647.svg
The first page of the Decree of the President of Russia "On the announcement of partial mobilization in the Russian Federation"
Native name Частичная мобилизация в России (Chastichnaya mobilizatsiya v Rossii)
Date21 September 2022–present
Location Russia
Cause
Organised byMinistry of Defense of Russia
Mobilization datesFirst wave:
26 September to 10 October
Second wave:
11 October to 25 October
Third wave:
26 October to 10 November[1]
Mobilization plan

On 21 September 2022, a troop mobilization in Russia was announced by President Vladimir Putin during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with the signing of the corresponding decree No. 647. The decision was made shortly after the successful Ukrainian counteroffensive in Kharkiv Oblast and a day after the announcement of referendums on the accession of the DPR, LPR, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts.[6][7]

In his speech, Putin said the "partial mobilization" was suggested to him by the Ministry of Defense and General Staff of the Armed Forces. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that Russia has a "huge mobilization reserve" and plans to mobilize 300,000 in reserve.[8] It is impossible to accurately verify the data on mobilization plans, since paragraph 7 of the decree—which, according to press secretary Dmitry Peskov, relates to the number of people mobilized—is classified as "for official use only".[9] Mobilization activities technically began immediately.[10]

With the announcement of mobilization, Putin escalated Russia's military efforts in the war with Ukraine. Despite the mass retreat of Russian troops from central and eastern Kharkiv Oblast, Putin maintained in his address that Russia's goals in Ukraine had not changed. Putin's speech was pre-recorded (as was the one broadcast hours prior to the invasion) and aired at 10:00 Moscow Time (UTC+3), so that all regions of Russia were notified simultaneously. The speech followed the State Duma's amendments to the Criminal Code regarding, among others, a penalty of up to 10 years in prison for "military desertion".[11] Putin accused the United States and Europe of "nuclear blackmail" against the Russian Federation and recalled the presence of their own weapons. Putin reaffirmed his support for hastily announced referendums paving the way for the occupied Ukrainian territories to be declared part of Russia, using the call for referendums to justify the need for mobilization.[11]

Putin has previously avoided declaring a mobilization, but the Russian retreat in Kharkiv Oblast and calls from pro-war nationalists appear to have swayed Putin into doing so.[12] Previously, mobilizations in the Russian Empire were conducted during the Russo-Japanese War in 1904,[13] and at the beginning of World War I in 1914. The Soviet Union mobilized its population and industry following the 1941 German invasion during World War II.[14]

After the introduction of mobilization, there were reports that the Kremlin was discussing the possibility of introducing martial law,[15][16] though the Presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov denied this.[17]

Background[edit]

Since the beginning of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian authorities have rejected the possibility of mobilization 15 times since the beginning of the war with Ukraine, according to the calculations of The Moscow Times. There were three denials a week before.[18][19][20] For example, on 8 March, International Women's Day, Vladimir Putin publicly promised that no reservists would be called up to fight in Ukraine.[21][22]

Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics[edit]

On 19 February 2022 – 5 days before the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine - in the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics, which at that time were not recognized by any internationally recognized sovereign state, including Russia, general mobilization began. Tens of thousands of local residents were forcibly mobilized for the war (according to one estimate, up to 140,000 people by mid-June 2022).[23][24][25]

The mobilization was accompanied by mass raids on men of military age. In the enterprises of the region, up to 80% of employees were called up, which led to the shutdown of mines, public transport, paralysis of city and public services. To avoid mobilization, residents are forced to hide or try to illegally leave the republics.[24]

The mobilization revealed numerous problems of the armed forces of the DNR and LNR. Recruits without training and combat experience found themselves on the front lines without adequate supplies: the units lack uniforms, weapons, food, and medicines. Human rights activists reported a huge - up to 30,000 people as of August 2022 - the death toll among mobilized recruits in clashes with the well-trained Armed Forces of Ukraine.[24][25]

Russia[edit]

Subpoenas to the military commissariats to reservists began already in April. The subpoenas that the janitors were instructed to hand out were drawn up incorrectly – they did not indicate the purpose of the call. Presumably, they were sent out to invite men to the military registration and enlistment office to conclude a contract to stay in the mobilization human reserve.[26]

On 28 May, amendments to the law “On military duty and military service” came into force, which excluded the age limit for those wishing to conclude the first contract.[27]

Russian losses[edit]

Russian control of Ukraine as of September 2022

Russian Defense Minister Shoigu, after Putin's appeal, said that the death toll of the Russian military is 5,937 people, and 90% of the wounded have already returned to the battle. The figure of losses voiced by Shoigu is less than the names of the Russians who died in the war are known. As of 16 September, Russian casualties were at least 6,476 military personnel, according to the BBC, a figure compiled from open sources that is lower than the actual number of casualties. The list of confirmed losses provided by the BBC may be at least 40–60% less than the actual military dead buried in Russia.[28]

The BBC collected data on the deaths of more than a thousand elite military professionals, including more than 70 military pilots, more than 370 marines, hundreds of paratroopers, and more than 200 GRU special forces soldiers; almost one in four of this number is an officer.[28] On 21 September, the General Staff of Ukraine gave a figure of 55,100 losses of Russian forces.[10]

Recruitment of prisoners[edit]

Starting in July 2022, a number of media outlets have reported on visits to corrective labor colonies by Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of Wagner PMC. According to them, he began a recruiting tour from the colonies for former security forces, and then switched to high-security institutions. He invited the prisoners to take part in hostilities as part of the PMC in exchange for a pardon, removal of their criminal record, a Russian passport, and cash payments (100 thousand rubles per month, 5 million in case of death). After the visit of recruiters, prisoners from two colonies in the Tula and Yaroslavl oblasts were deprived of the connection with the outside world provided by the Zonatelecom service.[29] In September, a video appeared to confirm the recruitment of prisoners personally by Prigozhin, filmed in a strict regime colony No. 6 in Mari El.[30][31] The Russia Behind Bars foundation has collected all the reports about the sending of prisoners - according to these data, 9,728 people have already been recruited.[32]

Legislative changes[edit]

On 20 September, the day before the mobilization, the State Duma of Russia unanimously adopted amendments to include the concepts of mobilization, martial law and wartime in the Criminal Code, and the introduction of several articles related to military operations. Voluntary surrender (Art. 352.1) involves up to 10 years in prison; looting (Art. 356.1) – up to 15 years, and the punishment for unauthorized abandonment of a military unit during the period of mobilization and martial law was increased to 10 years in prison. Criminal liability was introduced for the non-appearance of the reserve for military training, or desertion during the period of mobilization. The law also introduced punishment for failure to comply with an order during the period of mobilization, martial law, or wartime, as well as for refusing to participate in hostilities and operations – from two to three years.[33] According to Alexei Tabalov, a lawyer who commented on the legislative novelties for The Insider, one of the objectives of the new law was the enslavement of military personnel at the front.[34]

Political scientist Ekaterina Schulmann noted that on the official portal of the State Duma, the bill was marked as adopted by both houses of parliament, signed by the president and published, although the State Duma only voted for it at that moment.[34]

Putin's speech[edit]

After a delay in broadcasting[35] Vladimir Putin announces a partial mobilization in his address on the morning of 21 September.

On 21 September, Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization in Russia in a speech which aired at 9:00 Moscow time. In his televised address, he said that the country is at war with the "collective West", implicitly threatening use of nuclear weapons.[36] He said that "in order to protect our motherland, its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to ensure the safety of our people and people in the liberated territories", he decided to declare a partial mobilization.[36] Putin said that "only citizens who are in the reserve" are subject to conscription, primarily people who previously served in the army. In addition, the President announced that the drafted citizens will receive the same conditions as contracted employees.[37]

Decree[edit]

Shortly after Putin's speech, an official decree was published enacting the announced mobilization:[38]

  1. Declare partial mobilization in the Russian Federation from 21 September 2022 (i. e., immediately).
  2. Сarry out the call-up of citizens of the Russian Federation for military service for mobilization in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. Citizens of the Russian Federation called up for military service by mobilization have the status of military personnel serving in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation under a contract.
  3. Establish that the level of pay for citizens of the Russian Federation called up for military service for mobilization into the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation corresponds to the level of pay for military personnel serving in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation under a contract.
  4. Contracts for military service concluded by military personnel continue to be valid until the end of the period of partial mobilization, with the exception of cases of dismissal of military personnel from military service on the grounds established by this Decree.
  5. Establish during the period of partial mobilization the following grounds for the dismissal from military service of military personnel undergoing military service under a contract, as well as citizens of the Russian Federation called up for military service for mobilization in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation:
    1. by age – upon reaching the age limit for military service;
    2. for health reasons – in connection with their recognition by the military medical commission as unfit for military service, with the exception of military personnel who have expressed a desire to continue military service in military positions that can be replaced by the specified military personnel;
    3. in connection with the entry into force of a court verdict on the imposition of a sentence of imprisonment.
  6. To the Government of the Russian Federation:
    1. to finance activities for partial mobilization;
    2. take the necessary measures to meet the needs of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, other troops, military formations and bodies during the period of partial mobilization.
  7. For official use only (classified)[39]
  8. The highest officials of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation shall ensure the conscription of citizens for military service for mobilization in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in the number and within the time limits determined by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation for each constituent entity of the Russian Federation.
  9. Grant citizens of the Russian Federation working in organizations of the military-industrial complex the right to deferment from conscription for military service for mobilization (for the period of work in these organizations). The categories of citizens of the Russian Federation who are granted the right to deferment and the procedure for granting it are determined by the Government of the Russian Federation.
  10. This Decree shall enter into force on the day of its official publication (i. e., immediately).[7]

Official publication and entry into force[edit]

The Presidential Decree of 21 September 2022 No. 647 "On the announcement of partial mobilization in the Russian Federation" was published on the Official Internet Portal of Legal Information [ru] pravo.gov.ru on 21 September 2022.[40] Also the Decree was published on 22 September 2022 on the front page of the issue 223(8861) of the Rossiyskaya Gazeta.[41]

According to point 10 of the Decree, this Decree entered into force from the day of official publication (i.e. on 21 September 2022 when the Decree was published on the Official Internet Portal of Legal Information).

Point 7[edit]

Point number 7 of the decree is classified. In the version of the decree posted on the website for the official publication of regulations, paragraph 7 is not available and is marked as "for official use".[42]

The press secretary of the President, Dmitry Peskov, told press that the classified clause referred to the number of reservists who could be called up for military service.[5]

The newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported on September 22, 2022, that the classified point 7 gives the Defense Department permission to mobilize up to one million men.[2][43]

Peskov denied this, calling the reports "a lie".[5]

On September 23, 2022, a source "close to one of the federal ministries" told Meduza that 1.2 million people are going to be conscripted.[3][4] Peskov also denied this.[44]

Organization[edit]

Text of decree[edit]

The decree does not say that only reserve servicemen are subject to conscription.[45] It lists the grounds for dismissal from military service – age, state of health, court sentence to imprisonment.[45][7] Deferment from conscription is granted to employees of the military-industrial complex.[46]

The law on mobilization limits the exit from the country to citizens who are registered with the military:[47]

Citizens who are registered with the military, from the moment of the announcement of mobilization, are prohibited from leaving their place of residence without the permission of military commissariats, federal executive bodies that have a reserve.

— The paragraph 2 of the article 21 of the Federal Law of 26 February 1997 No. 31-FZ "About mobilization preparation and mobilization in the Russian Federation"

The State Duma deputies voted for the introduction of the concepts of "wartime" and "martial law" the day before the announcement of mobilization. Senators and deputies of the State Duma are not subject to mobilization.[48][49]

Citizens to be mobilized[edit]

Men at a recruiting station in Yalta, Republic of Crimea

According to Putin's televised address, "only citizens who are currently in the reserve and, above all, those who served in the armed forces, have certain military specialties and relevant experience will be subject to conscription".[8] According to Shoigu, 300,000 reservists are planned to be mobilized.[50] Conscripts will be sent for training or retraining, after which they will go to Ukraine to participate in hostilities.[8] Reservists may be banned from leaving Russia after receiving a summons.[51]

Shoigu's statement about the draft of 300,000 reservists does not correlate with his other statements about insignificant losses of the Russian army. Shoigu talks about the loss of fewer than 6,000 troops or about 3% of the participating Russian forces. Ukraine estimates the number of losses of the Russian Federation 10 times more.[52]

Political scientist Ekaterina Schulmann pointed out that according to the text of Putin's decree on mobilization, "anyone can be called up, except for workers in the military-industrial complex". The head of the human rights group Agora lawyer Pavel Chikov expressed the opinion that "[in fact] the Russian Ministry of Defense will decide who, from where and in what quantity to send to war".[53]

Z symbol on a billboard reads Russian: За Путина, lit.'For Putin'

On 22 September, the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, at a meeting with the operational headquarters for conducting a special military operation said that mobilization would not be carried out in the Chechen Republic. He explained this by saying that during the war in Ukraine, the republic "overfulfilled the plan."[54]

Implementation[edit]

The military commissars of some Russian regions forbade persons in the reserve, who do not have mobilization orders in their hands and who have not received summons, to travel outside the districts (cities) where they permanently reside, and those who received a summons or have a mobilization order were obliged to appear in points and terms specified in these- documents. Employers of persons who have received summons or have mobilization orders are ordered to make full settlements with such persons and ensure their appearance at the points and times specified in these documents.[55]

Draft evasion, voluntary surrender and desertion during mobilization or wartime will be punishable by up to 10–15 years in prison.[56][57]

Dates[edit]

In one of the military commissariats in Omsk, the families of conscripts were told that there would be three waves of mobilization – from 26 September to 10 October, from 11 to 25 October, and from 26 October to 10 November. This is evidenced by an audio recording from a meeting from the military registration and enlistment office. Information about three waves of conscription is also confirmed from the Krasnoyarsk Krai – the local military commissariat said the same thing.[1]

The military commissar of the Kaliningrad Oblast, Colonel Yuriy Boychenko, publicly answered a journalist's question about whether the date by which summonses would be distributed was determined: "The summonses will be distributed before the relevant presidential decree".[58]

Reactions[edit]

In Russia[edit]

On 22 September, Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev said that "mobilisation capabilities" could be used to protect the newly annexed territories in Russian-occupied Ukraine.[59]

Roskomnadzor demanded to write about "partial mobilization" using information "exclusively" from Russian official sources and threatened the media with fines of up to 5 million rubles and blocking.[60]

Imprisoned Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny said during a court hearing: "I don’t understand one thing. The army has a million people, Rosgvardia has 350,000 people, the Interior Ministry has another million and a half or two million people, and the Federal Penitentiary Service is full of people. Why are they drafting civilians?"[61]

Markets[edit]

Russian markets reacted to the introduction of partial mobilization with a moderate collapse. By 10:43 Moscow Time, the MOEX Index had fallen by more than 4%, and the RTS Index by 5%.[62] After the opening of the exchange, the US dollar against the ruble rose to 62.61 rubles in less than two hours (+2.01 rubles by the close of trading on 20 September).[63]

Russia's officials and their families[edit]

Russians critical of the mobilizations have used social media and other electronic means (e.g. Twitter) to enquire en masse Russia's top officials and deputies, who supported the war and mobilization, whether they themselves or their sons would go to the front. There have been a few officials who intended to do so, but most either refused to answer or gave excuses, such as Alexey Mishustin (premier Mikhail Mishustin's son), ignored the citizens' questions (Moscow city council deputy Andrey Zyuganov, the grandson of Gennady Zyuganov) or blocked the person asking (e.g. Dmitry Rogozin's reaction to the BBC question on Twitter, whether he has advised his son Alexey to volunteer).[64]

Nikolay Peskov, the son of Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov, told pranksters, who pretended to be recruitment officers, that he had no intention of going to war and would resolve the issue "on a different level."[65][66] It was seen as an example of nepotism in Putin's Russia.[66]

Russian State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin said that the State Duma will support deputies who want to enlist in the army and go to war in Ukraine.[64] Putin loyalist Dmitry Vyatkin, who authored a number of restrictive bills, said in a speech that deputies should not give up their mandate and go to fight at the front, because they have the duty and responsibility to take care of the citizens of Russia and solve their problems.[64]

Exodus of Russians[edit]

Residents of Russia were buying up tickets to other countries because of the announced mobilization. Before the televised address of Russian President Vladimir Putin, all air tickets to Istanbul on 21 September, as well as almost all tickets to Yerevan, were sold.[37] One-way tickets from Moscow to Yerevan were available on 22 September for $4,241 (with multiple stops). Data from Google Trends reveals a sharp rise (quadrupling) in people searching "Aviasales" which is an important Russian flight sales engine.[67] It is estimated that 7,000 Russians left the country on 22 September.[68]

After the announcement of mobilization, many kilometers of traffic jams formed at the exits from Russia to Kazakhstan, Georgia, Belarus, Finland and Mongolia:[69] along the Georgian border, vehicles were lined up for at least 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) and near Kazakhstan, cars were abandoned as motorists ran to flee.[70] The Baltic countries of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia announced they will not offer refuge to Russians fleeing mobilization.[71] Chair of the Senate of Kazakhstan Mäulen Äşimbaev announced that Kazakhstan would not issue permanent residence permits to Russian citizens evading mobilization without the permission from the Russian government.[72]

In Sakha, those who were in reserve, but did not receive summons, were forbidden to leave their regions and cities.[73] The same bans were issued by the military commissars of Dagestan, the Krasnodar Krai, Tatarstan and the Samara and Kursk Oblasts.

Help for army conscripts[edit]

Numerous human rights and public organizations expressed their readiness to help Russians who fall under the mobilization. Among them are "Agora", "Committee of Soldiers' Mothers", "Conscript's School", "Movement of Conscious Objectors from Military Service", "Call to Conscience", "Citizen and Army".[74][75][76][77]

Protests[edit]

The Vesna movement called for an all-Russian protest action. The action called "No mogilization (grave-ization)" was scheduled for the evening of 21 September.[78][37]

Protests against the mobilization for the war with Ukraine occurred throughout Russia. Protesters in Moscow chanted the slogan "Putin to the trenches!".[79] At 22:00 Moscow time, more than 1,233 people had already been detained in 38 cities.[80] From the four departments of the Moscow police, information was received that the detained men were handed summons to the military registration and enlistment office. The press secretary of the President, Dmitry Peskov, noted that the delivery of subpoenas to detainees does not contradict the law.[81] In the Sokolinaya Gora police department, one of the detainees was threatened with a criminal case and a term of ten years for refusing to receive a summons.[82]

The Moscow prosecutor's office warned organising or participating in anti-war protests could lead to up to 15 years in prison.[83]

In the capital of Chechnya, Grozny, on 21 September – the day the mobilization was announced in Russia – several dozen women tried to hold a protest rally against it. All of them were detained.[84]

On 22 September, in Babayurt, the Republic of Dagestan, the federal highway was blocked at the exit from the village. Also, a group of villagers gathered near the local military registration and enlistment office, where there was a clash between them and an employee of the military registration and enlistment office.[85][86]

On 24 September, anti-mobilization rallies organized by Vesna took place in many Russian cities.[87] The rallies were marked by mass detentions not only of protesters, but also of ordinary passers-by.[88] According to OVD-Info, more than 750 people were detained by 22:30 Moscow time.[89]

On 25 September, the women of Yakutsk went to a rally under the slogans "We will not give up our husbands", "No to genocide", "No to war". People gathered in osuokhay [ru], a traditional round dance symbolising the blessing of mothers for the safe return of their husbands and sons. The women were soon dispersed by the security forces.[90][91] On the same day, residents of Endirey, Khasavyurtovsky District of Dagestan, took part in a rally against mobilization. The police fired live rounds into the air in an attempt to disperse the rally.[92]

September 26:

  • At the Ryazan bus station, a man set himself on fire. He shouted that he did not want to go to war.[93]
  • In Ust-Ilimsk (Irkutsk oblast), during a meeting with people to be mobilized at the military registration and enlistment office, a man shot at the head of the draft board, the latter ended up in intensive care.[94][95][96] According to the Baza publication, before opening fire, the attacker said: “Now we’ll all go home!”.[97]

Arsons[edit]

After the announcement of mobilization, Navalny's team promised to "render assistance" to anyone who would try to evade conscription into the ranks of the Russian Armed Forces to be sent to Ukraine. According to Ivan Zhdanov, Alexei Navalny's headquarters will support any form of protest over the announcement of a partial mobilization in the Russian Federation, including arson of military commissariats throughout the country.[98][99]

On 21 September, a recruiting station was set on fire in Nizhny Novgorod.[100] On the night of 21–22 September in Lomonosov, Saint Petersburg, the building of the military commissariat building was set on fire.[101] In the city of Gay, Orenburg Oblast, unknown people also tried to set fire to a building of the military commissariat.[102]

The day after the announcement of mobilization, in Tolyatti, an unknown person threw a Molotov cocktail at the city hall building.[103][104]

On 23 September, it was reported that military commissariats were set on fire in the cities of Svobodny, Khabarovsk, Kamyshin, and the village of Tselinnoye.[105][106]

On 24 September, the military commissariat in Kansk and the office of United Russia in Salavat were set on fire.[107][108][109]

On 25 September, there were attempts to set fire to military commissariats in Ruzayevka, Chernyakhovsk, Kirovsk and village administrations in Bereslavka, Volgograd Oblast and Syaskelevo [ru], Leningrad Oblast.[110][111][112][113][114]

On September 25, there were attempts to set fire to military commissariats in Uryupinsk and Tarusa.[115][116][117]

In Ukraine[edit]

The Ukrainian authorities said that Russians forcibly mobilized and sent to Ukraine could surrender. According to the Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk, those who surrender will be guaranteed security.[118] Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksiy Danilov called the decision on partial mobilization a "complex program for the disposal of Russians".[119]

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy in an interview with Bild noted that Ukraine was waiting for such a step from Vladimir Putin, summarizing: “Putin wants to drown Ukraine in blood. But also in the blood of our own soldiers.”[120]

For the Ukrainian society, mobilization also did not become news: they talked about it and wrote about it from the very beginning of the war. In the Internet environment, the news was greeted with memes about the “couch troops of the Russian Federation” (people who called for a tougher war on the Internet and got the opportunity to put their ideas into practice), about compensation to the families of the dead Russian military personnel, and the like.[120]

International[edit]

Government representatives and diplomats from European countries and the United States described Putin's decision to mobilize as a sign of Russia's failure in the war with Ukraine, a step toward escalation, and an indication of panic in the Russian leadership. Some representatives noted that their governments will continue to provide military assistance to Ukraine to protect against Russian aggression.[121] Other Western politicians have also expressed disregard of Putin's threats of nuclear escalation.[122]

  • Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský stated that the Czech Republic will not issue humanitarian visas to Russians who have fled to avoid mobilization.[123] Czech Republic stopped issuing visas to Russian citizens in February 2022.[124]
  • Estonia Prime Minister of Estonia Kaja Kallas announced that the country would not provide asylum to Russians fleeing mobilization.[125]
  • France French President Emmanuel Macron said he had "no rational explanation" for the steps of Vladimir Putin in Ukraine, adding that it was likely "a combination of ressentiment, the strategy of hegemony in the region and, I would say, the consequences of COVID-19, isolation".[126][127]
  • Germany German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called the mobilization "an act of desperation" that will "make everything worse", noting that he "completely underestimated" from the beginning the willingness of the Ukrainian people to resist.[128] German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said that "Deserters threatened with serious repression can, as a rule, obtain international protection in Germany."[129]
  • Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev stated that Kazakhstan would help fleeing Russians, saying that "Most of them are forced to leave because of the current hopeless situation."[130]
  • Mongolia Former President of Mongolia Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj published a video on the YouTube channel of the World Federation of Mongols urging Putin to stop the war, honouring Russian refugees bound to "start freeing [their] country from dictatorship", welcoming Buryats, Tuvans, and Kalmyks "used as nothing more than cannon fodder", instructing Russian draftees not to "shoot Ukrainians" and "kill that country", nor "their freedom", and praising the "brave people" of Ukraine and President Zelenskyy.[131] According to him, different countries should accept representatives of small nationalities whom the Russian authorities send to war. In particular, Mongolia is ready to shelter refugees.
  • Netherlands Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte called Putin's actions a "sign of panic", adding that the threat of nuclear weapons did not worry him.[122]
  • Poland In an interview with PBS News, President of Poland Andrzej Duda called the mobilization as "an attempt to save face" by Russia.[132]
  • United Kingdom British Secretary of State for Defense Ben Wallace said that the mobilization is evidence of Russia's defeat.[133]
  • United States United States Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget A. Brink noted that "fake referendums and mobilization are signs of Russia's weakness and failure".[134] Speaking at the United Nations Security Council, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken castigated Putin for "choosing not to end the war, but to expand it" despite the "remarkable unity" against Russia's efforts by many countries speaking of "consequences of this war and the need to end it", as well the "serious questions and concerns" from Moscow's allies. He remarked on Putin's mobilization announcement taking place "this week, when most of the world gathers at the United Nations, to add fuel to the fire that he started", which Blinken believed showed "utter contempt for the UN charter, the General Assembly, and this council"; also noting that Putin's threats to retaliate to post-annexation attacks with "all weapon systems available" took place nine months after Russia's signed a joint statement in the council reading that "nuclear war can never be won and must never be fought".[note 1][136] He reminded the council of the protest and resistance among the Russian people, quoting the anti-mobilization protesters' chant of "Let our children live".[137]

Germany offered asylum to Russian oppositionists and conscripts who did not want to go to war with Ukraine.[138] In contrast, the Finnish Foreign Ministry said that the country is preparing to introduce a complete ban on entry for Russian citizens on Schengen visas.[139] Estonia announced that they would close entry for all Russians who participated in the war with Ukraine, and Latvia refused to issue humanitarian visas to Russians who evade mobilization, citing security concerns.[140]

Opinions[edit]

According to the Institute for the Study of War, mobilization is unlikely to allow Russia to significantly increase its combat power in the coming months. Due to the fact that conscription service in the Russian army lasts only a year, and conscripts do not undergo additional training after the end of their service, Russian military soldiers in the reserve have little combat experience. While Shoigu has maintained he intends to call on reservists with combat experience, very few reservists now have one outside of those already fighting in Ukraine. Mobilization may be enough to compensate for losses and maintain human resources at the current level until 2023, although this is not certain. As the Institute's analysts note, Shoigu's claims suggest that the mobilization will unfold in several phases, and that there will be no rapid influx of soldiers to the front. Subsequently, the mobilization will not deprive Ukraine of the opportunity to liberate even more of its lands before the end of winter.[141][141]

Other experts point out that Russia suffers from a lack of infrastructure to train and equip the mobilized, caused by heavy losses of equipment and ammunition on the battlefield and the abolition of many logistics and management structures that once allowed the countries of the former Soviet Union to quickly train and arm mobilized conscripts.[142][143] Jean-Christophe Noël, associate researcher at IFRI, said that "One of the Russian weaknesses is joint-army combats, and their reservists are not at all prepared for that. They would be used as cannon fodder in any attempt at an offensive."[144]

The Washington Post notes that by announcing the mobilization, Putin is taking a big risk – according to polls, young men may begin to express opposition to the war due to the mobilization decree.[145]

According to the analysis of economists Oleg Itskhoki and Maxim Mironov, Russia may lose more than 10% of men aged 20–29 as a result of losses in the war and emigration. After the end of the war, Russia expects a surge in crime. Also, a significant number of children, especially in poor regions, will be left without fathers, which will lead to a new surge in crime in 5–10 years, when these children become teenagers.[146]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The statement in English read that nuclear war "cannot be won" rather than "can never be won".[135] This is either a difference in the Russian wording or a mistake by Blinken or the State Department.

References[edit]

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